Amend Section 2.18 of the Town's Zoning By-Law - adding Recreational Marijuana Establishment, & amend Section 4.07 of the Town's Zoning By-law to establish a moratorium on recreational marijuana establishments and related uses

Petitioner: Planning and Community Development

Annual Town Meeting, May 2017

The Planning and Community Development Department is submitting this article following review and comment by the Brookline Licensing Review Committee. This article provides for a moratorium on the development of recreational marijuana establishments and any related uses until the State has adopted its regulations regarding such uses and the Town has had the opportunity to formulate zoning by-laws consistent with those State regulations. The moratorium contains a sunset provision providing that the moratorium terminates upon the passage of a zoning amendment at Fall 2018Town Meeting and subsequent approval by the Attorney General or April 15, 2019, whichever occurs earlier.

In November 2016, voters of the Commonwealth approved a law regulating the cultivation, manufacture, processing, distribution, sale, possession, testing and use of recreational marijuana, effective on December 15, 2016. The law established a new State agency, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC), and empowered it to issue regulations regarding implementation of the law by September 15, 2017. Subsequently, Chapter 351 of the Acts of 2016 extended the time period for the issuance of the regulations by six months to March 15, 2018.

The Town enacted a similar temporary moratorium in spring of 2013 relative to medical marijuana facilities in order to allow time to promulgate reasonable local regulations. The Attorney General's Office approved that moratorium. Recently, a six and a half month recreational marijuana moratorium adopted by the Town of West Bridgewater at its Town Meeting on December 14, 2016, was approved by the Attorney General. This occurred prior to the legislature's extension of the deadline for CCC regulation to March 15, 2018. Brookline's Zoning Bylaw currently allows Registered Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in General Business, Office, and Industrial districts by Special Permit if certain conditions are met.

Regulation of Recreational Marijuana Establishments, however, raises novel and complex legal, planning, and public safety issues. The Town needs time to identify, consider and address those issues, as well as any forthcoming regulations issued by the Cannabis Control Commission. The temporary moratorium proposed in this Article is intended to allow sufficient time for the Town to engage in a comprehensive planning process and adopt appropriate and effective Zoning ByLaw and General By-Law provisions using sound land-use planning principles and addressing any public health, safety and welfare issues that could arise from this new law. Those regulations should not be finalized until after the State has adopted its regulations to ensure that the Town's regulations are consistent with what the State regulations allow and/or prohibit. Since the warrant for Spring 2018 Town Meeting typically closes roughly in the middle of March, if State regulations are not issued until March 15, 2018, the Town would not have time to prepare and adequately vet its regulations before the close of the warrant. Therefore, a warrant article proposing a zoning amendment will be submitted to Fall 2018 Town Meeting.

The moratorium will be effective through the Attorney General's approval of any amendment passed at Fall 2018 Town Meeting or April 15, 2019, whichever is earlier.

Official Town Meeting Vote Select Board Advisory Board

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Two-Thirds Majority



Final Result:

Favorable Action

Community Organization Recommendations
PAX Green Caucus
Official Text of the Article

VOTED: That the Town will add to the Zoning By-Law in Section 2.18, "R" Definitions, a #3 for "Recreational Marijuana Establishment" as follows, and change the current #3 to #4:

3. RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA ESTABLISHMENT - a marijuana cultivator, marijuana testing facility, marijuana product manufacturer, marijuana retailer, or any other type of marijuana-related business as is subject to regulation under Chapter 94G of the Massachusetts General Laws. To further see if the Town will amend Sec. 4.07, Table of Use Regulations, by adding a new use, Use #20C

(For Section 4.07, see page 14-6 and 14-7 in the link below)…